Last Friday night, I went to a San Francisco Giants game with my family and sorority… unfortunately, they lost!
But luckily I was able to enjoy a nice and delicious ball park meal, which consisted of a veggie burger, garlic fries, and an extra large diet coke. Don’t worry I shared the coke… well some of it anyway!
However, when I was munching on my fries all I could think about was … acrylamide!
Acrylamide is a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm (listed on the Prop 65 chemical list).
Acrylamide comes from the “browning” process of starchy carbohydrates and forms when these carbs are heated; such as, baking bread or frying potatoes. Acrylamide can be found in the highest concentrations when overcooked or fried; more specifically, in french fries and fried potato chips.
Surprisingly, an uncooked french fry has NO acrylamide at all … however, a french fry cooked for 15 minutes has acrylamide levels of 11 parts per billion (ppb), 30 minutes has levels of 1326 ppb, and 45 minutes has levels of 4885 ppb. So, basically, STAY AWAY from the brown, burnt french fries!!!
The browner the fry the worse it is!!!
Potatoes have yet another toxic chemical known as solanine! We have fortunately bred potatoes to have very low solanine levels; however, beware of the green parts of potatoes… In other words, DO NOT EAT THE GREEN!!! Instead, cut off the green parts and cook the rest of the potato! Solanine is not degraded by cooking and is known as a cholinesterase inhibitor! Toxicity of this chemical could cause tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and ultimately a coma.